Effective training requires a well-thought-out plan. It should include goals, objectives, and outcomes. This helps trainers determine whether they are achieving their desired results.
The Kirkpatrick Model - Four Levels of Learning Evaluation
In 1959, Donald Kirkpatrick developed the Kirkpatrick evaluation model for measuring training programs' effectiveness.
The Kirkpatrick model describes four levels of evaluation:
Level 1 - Reaction
Level 2 - Learning
Level 3 - Behaviour
Level 4 - Results
In this model, Level 1 represents the reaction of the trainee to the training experience. The learner's response to training includes his/her reactions to the training process itself as well as his/her feelings about the learning material and instructors.
Level 2 measures how much the trainee has learned during the training session. For example, a trainee might take a written examination before and after training. A comparison of the two sets of scores indicates how much the trainee gained from the training.
Level 3 evaluates the extent to which the trainee applies what he/she has learned in the workplace. For example, an employer might assign a supervisor to observe the trainee's work for one day. After observing the trainee's work, the supervisor provides a report describing the trainee's strengths and weaknesses.
Finally, Level 4 determines the long-term impact of the training. It shows whether the trainee's new knowledge and skills result in measurable business benefits. For example, if a company trains its employees to use a new software application, it will measure the number of hours saved per week due to faster data entry.
Why Measure Training Effectiveness?
The most common reasons people measure training effectiveness include:
• To improve training programs by identifying areas where they could be improved (e.g., course content, delivery methods)
• To identify gaps in knowledge or skills among trainees (e.g., lack of understanding of basic concepts, poor communication skills)
• To ensure that trainees have acquired the necessary competencies to perform their jobs effectively (e.g., job-related skills)
• To demonstrate value added by training (i.e., increased productivity, reduced errors)
• To meet legal requirements for employee safety, health, or security (e.g., OSHA regulations).
Effective Training Strategies
There are several different strategies you can use to train employees effectively. Some of them are more appropriate than others depending upon the situation. Here are some general guidelines to follow when deciding which strategy to use:
1. Make sure your training meets the needs of the learner. A good training program is tailored specifically to each employee’s needs.
2. Create a learning environment conducive to learning. Your learners must feel comfortable and safe while participating in the training.
3. Provide frequent opportunities for practice. Employees learn better when they’re given opportunities to practice skills.
4. Use interactive methods. Interactivity provides a sense of involvement and engagement. It also makes the training more enjoyable.
5. Keep the training relevant. The training content should be current and applicable to the job being performed.
6. Evaluate the effectiveness of the training. Once the training has been completed, ask your participants their opinions regarding the training. Was it effective? Did they learn anything? Were they satisfied with the amount of time spent on the training?
7. Follow Up After Training. Conduct post-training evaluations to see whether your training was successful. You can do this by asking questions about the training. You can also give feedback to the participants.
8. Remember that training doesn’t end at the completion of the training. You still have to monitor the performance of the employees following the training. In addition, you need to provide ongoing training throughout the year so that your employees stay updated on any changes in the business.
9. Offer Continued Learning Opportunities. Continual learning is essential because new technologies and processes continue to evolve. Ensure that your employees receive regular updates on these developments.
10. Have Fun! No matter how much money you spend on training, there’s no point in spending all your time training if you don’t enjoy doing it. So make sure you have fun!
11. Don’t forget to reward your employees for taking part in the training. Whether through monetary compensation or something else, you want to thank those who participate in the training.